One Analyst, Two Faces



Unlike many of my other color analyst colleagues, my first exposure to Personal Color was through a Korean TV talk show that I watched when I was in high school. I am a Korean immigrant who spent most of her summer breaks in Korea, and it was during one of these summers that I stumbled upon Personal Color while flipping through the channels. It was an entertainment and beauty channel geared toward teen and young adult women that covered celebrity scandals, music video and lifestyle product reviews. It showed a professional makeup artist demonstrating the effects of wearing warm vs. cool foundation on models that were present and articulated that the effects can be summed up by Personal Color. She also said something along the lines of, “you can be warm-toned or cool-toned.”

You see, I had spent all my time thinking that all Asians were warm-toned because we were “yellow,” and that me looking terrible in warm-toned foundations was somehow my fault. I decided that I would widen my possibilities for foundations and was very happy with my high school decision.


I vaguely knew that Personal Color was a commercially thriving industry in Korea...



When Personal Color was reintroduced to me through a need to look great in my new professional life, I stuck to English sources in my online research as my proficiency level for Korean is much lower. I understand and speak enough conversational Korean that people assume that I am Korean but participating in reading and writing would expose my overseas upbringing.

Soon after my training with 12 Blueprints, I took a trip to South Korea and I became curious about what the Korean counterpart had in store. I went to instagram and searched #퍼스널컬러 (Korean for “Personal Color”). And the top posts were gorgeous! I clicked to see more and it was a Personal Color Consultant who was also a photographer. I wanted to be photographed by her and experience a Korean draping process. I vaguely knew that Personal Color was a commercially thriving industry in Korea and trusted that the Korean perfectionist culture of work would yield thorough technical draping for Personal Color. Oh, how wrong I was.

The draping experience was very disappointing. There was no controlled lighting or neutral color environment. The draping process was very short, around 20 minutes, with no systematic reason as to why certain drapes were used and others weren’t. I received no explanation as to why certain decisions were being made, despite questions. At the end of the session, she declared me a Soft Summer whose best colors were white, black, icy pink, burgundy, and dark navy blue (The color choices themselves were a definitive sign that I can’t be a Summer). I supposed that this mishap was alright since I had come primarily for the photographs anyway.


When I received the finished photos from her, I was heartbroken. I almost didn’t want anyone to see them.



The photoshoot itself was a fun experience. It was my first model-esque photoshoot which included getting my hair and makeup done by professionals. It was thrilling to have a professional photographer along with large cameras and lights focused on me. The problem came as I saw the Lightroom and Photoshop alterations. To see the original image of me warp into muted colors and much smaller chin and cheekbones was incredibly off-putting. I tried to convey my concerns, again and again. “I don’t like how my hair color is so altered that it’s brown, instead of black like in real life.” “Can you keep my chin and cheekbones as natural as possible?” “My skin here looks so washed out. Can you preserve my actual skin tone?” She did seem to make very minor adjustments based on what I said but it remained fake looking. Plus, I could tell that she was becoming more and more uncomfortable with my requests. I gave up and accepted the type of photos that I would be getting from her.

When I received the finished photos from her, I was heartbroken. I almost didn’t want anyone to see them. The pictures of “me” instilled insecurity and shame in my own face: the image was beautiful but unreal. Even my husband told me in a concerned voice, “It doesn’t really look like you.” It was a typical K-Beauty face whose proportions can only be  achieved through plastic surgery. I felt stuck. On one hand, these photos that were expensive, contained the labor of three professionals (photographer, makeup artist and hairstylist) and admittedly beautiful. On the other hand, I hated them, went against my values and weren’t accurate. But they were professional photos of me in a suit and resigned myself to using them for professional uses. I thought to myself, “If only I could get another photoshoot where I could do things right…”


A few months later, when I came back to the States, I was lucky to be photographed by a friend who is a professional photographer. She volunteered to be a color model for me and offered to do a simple photoshoot of me in her Los Angeles home. This time, I decided not to leave it to chance. I used my knowledge of my true personal color season: Bright Winter. I focused on the luminescence of my skin through my own Bright Winter makeup, clothing and accessories. I was much happier with the results despite the fact that these photos did not have the help of makeup artists or hair stylists. In these more recent photos, I looked like me: the authentic me that I can recognize everyday in my bathroom mirror. Second, I truly believe that I look more beautiful, vibrant and confident. My facial features and overall energy are focused and clear.  There is an added presence to my image by staying true to my personal color season of Bright Winter without photo manipulation. Now I only have pride when I look at the photos from this photoshoot and I’m happy that they could be used to represent both me and my brand authentically.


By Michelle Boni
Written on September 3, 2020

Color Theory 101


Thinking about incorporating colors or even trying to talk about colors can be scary! Thankfully, even just having a basic understanding of color structure can go a long way to build confidence.  

The current color theory that is most widely used, including by Pantone, is the Munsell Color System. It is a 3-D system beloved precisely because it is built on intuitive concepts of Hue, Value and Chroma and is relatively easy to reproduce exactly in a physical space. 


Hue


Hue refers to 2 things.


First, It is the our usual understanding color as the general color term such as red or orange. Many specific variations can and will be described as red, which means that those color variations fall in the red color family. The interactions between these color families can be used to reliably make certain color families resulting in primary, secondary and tertiary colors.


Second, it refers to the sliding scale of warm to cool with neutral in the middle. Warm color means that the color is yellow-based and conversely, cool color mean that it is blue-based. Complete neutral color are very uncommon. Most colors will either lean warm or cool to create warm-neutral or cool-neutral.

The second image shows cools colors on the top row and warm colors on the bottom row.


Value



Value or lightness refers to if a color is light or dark. Easiest way to think of this is think, “Is this color close to white or black?” On a similar note, just simply add white to lighten a color or add black to darken a color.


If you find yourself having a hard time “seeing” value changes, simply turn the image Black&White. All the colors morph to give you value only.


Chroma



Chroma or saturation refers to if a color is bright and vivid or dull and soft.

It can be easily confused with Value but pay attention! Chroma shouldn’t affect black-to-white scale! ⚠️


When you turn differing chroma colors to Black&White, it stays uniform gray.

It’s easiest to think of high chroma as a new, fresh rug and low chroma as a rug that has a lot of dust built up and sorely needs a good vacuuming. 😉


Personal Color Season


An understanding of these three dimensions of colors will help you immensely in understanding Personal Color Seasons as each season is defined precisely by these three building blocks. 


By Michelle Boni
Written on September 2, 2020

Coming Home




During my 12 Blueprints training, I was draped as a Bright Winter. I had previously hoped myself to be a Dark Winter based on a couple of things. I knew that there were many times when I felt that foundations or other BB creams were too yellow on me. And I own precisely zero orange clothing as I always thought that it made me look terrible. That gave me hints that I might be cool-toned and belong in the Cool seasons of Summer or Winter. Looking through the different colors of Summers and Winters, I preferred the strength of Winter colors in comparison to Summer colors. As for my specific attachment to Dark Winter, I thought that my current wardrobe most closely correlated with Dark Winter colors.


I looked healthy, fresh and happy. And according to my husband, incredibly attractive. I just look DAMN GOOD.



I was able to see with my own eyes that Bright Winter was more flattering on me along with precise language about specific changes on my face. I was surprised by my season but I couldn’t argue with what I had seen in the mirror during draping. I started to seek out makeup and clothing that were Bright Winter coloring. I will admit that it did involve a learning curve and shifting how I perceived the colors to be. Initially, I had to deal with my bias that Bright Winter colors looked burlesque, or even reminiscent of cheap Halloween clothing. I was much more used to Dark Winter in terms of my makeup and clothing. But slowly, I came to appreciate the large range even within Bright Winter coloring and especially how the colors looked in relation to me — my physical body and face.

When I looked at a single Bright Winter lipstick or blush in the pot, it looked overwhelming. But placed and applied on my face, I realized that I can’t help but smile when looking at myself in the mirror. I looked healthy, fresh and happy. And according to my husband, incredibly attractive. I just look DAMN GOOD. I realized that as flattering as Dark Winter was compared to the other 12 seasons, it doesn’t compare to the effects that Bright Winter gave me. Dark Winter actually showed a more tired and aged side of myself that emphasized my dark circles compared to Bright Winter.

It proved to be a similar but more drawn-out experience with clothing. Hesitation for Bright Winter clothing persisted. First, it was difficult to find of Bright Winter clothing that fulfilled my other style needs. Second, I feared drawing more attention to myself than necessary. I slowly realized that Bright Winter is perhaps less common than its more muted season counterparts but not difficult to find at most large clothing retailers. The real turning point was increasing my own recognition of Bright Winter color through familiarity. I also found that my appearance didn’t look overpowering or unnatural at all with Bright Winter, rather, I looked balanced and sophisticated. My fears that I won’t look respectable fell away.

The process of filling out a Bright Winter wardrobe is still far from over but I’m glad that it’s not. I’m thoroughly enjoying this process of honing my eye and crafting a vision for how I could show up. I feel my new self moving through life with more strength and peace with each new discovery of color combinations and new apparels. I no longer spend hours looking at ill-fitting clothing and can even bypass entire trends confidently. The time that I am taking to become comfortable with a new color palette allows me to slowly journey home.

I would like to remind people to stay open minded on what their season could be and to stay focused on witnessing true effects in the mirror. I understand how uncomfortable and even painful this can be. It can feel like a battle against your own sense of understanding what looks good on you. A truly humbling experience. I hope to be there for you through it all until you can use your personal color season to its full potential too.
 

By Michelle Boni
Written on September 1, 2020

My Journey




My relationship with beauty was haphazard.

Growing up, people said I was pretty, but I never felt comfortable with their words. I questioned the real value of beauty and whether beauty was overvalued in our society. But, I would also spend hours both admiring and critiquing my looks while secretly afraid that I was valued only for my outer appearance. It fueled my cyclical habit of overindulgence in the beauty industry contrasted by long periods of willful abstinence.

There was resentment, confusion, and insecurity.

I carried these pains into adulthood and into the corporate/business world. I was eager to leave these problems behind me as I focused on growing my competency and my career.


I could finally see that beauty can be afforded to all. All the empowerment of increased self-esteem without the doubts and insecurities that marketing feeds us.



But I noticed that in this new professional setting, the colleagues and business partners who enjoyed good reputations along with quick career progressions always looked sharp and confident. My concerns quickly pivoted to finding sustainable, functional solutions.

    • How do I pick a foundation that is flattering for eight hours in stark office lighting?

    • How do I pick the right lipstick that is both flattering, approachable and professional?

    • How do I pick the right color shirt/blouses to highlight my personality and potential as a budding career woman?

I needed knowledge. I needed confidence. I needed a system.

I could not accept that, even in the shadow of a fashion and beauty industry with a combined market size of over a trillion dollars, we had still not figured out a way for each woman to find their best colors. There must be a well considered and thoroughly documented system that can articulate the answers that I was looking for. This is when I remembered that I had seen a segment on Korean TV about something called Personal Color years ago and began my research of color in earnest.


I learned that it’s possible to have a complete makeup toolkit with only 3 lipsticks and one eyeshadow palette.



I was hooked on Personal Color and it quickly became a passion. I learned so much. I learned that an individual’s unique proportions of melanin, carotene, and hemoglobin pigments are responsible for each person’s unique flattering colors. I learned that it’s possible to have a complete makeup toolkit with only 3 lipsticks and one eyeshadow palette. I learned that it’s possible to have a wardrobe that coordinates beautifully together both with itself and I, the wearer. And most surprisingly, I learned that the right colors will bring vitality, authenticity and richness of character to the surface.

The only logical next step was to invest and receive formal training as a color analyst and spread the functionality and joy of personal color analysis. In my research, I found the personal color analysis system as taught by Christine of 12 Blueprints to be exceptional in its structured methods and insight into natural color harmony.

The evidence during training was overwhelming. It’s one thing to understand the theoretical workings of personal color, it’s entirely another to witness the transformations in the mirror. The training cemented my calling as I learned to interpret changes that occurred in both my own and others’ reflections.

I felt peace. I could finally see that beauty can be afforded to all. All the empowerment of increased self-esteem without the doubts and insecurities that marketing feeds us. This was a message that more women and men needed to hear.


By Michelle Boni
Written on July 31, 2020

Philosophy




The distilled concern all of my clients have is this:

“How do I achieve personal beauty consistently?”


We care and invest in our looks, our beauty, not because we are vain or vapid. We care because it constantly sends out signals to ourselves and to others about who we can be.

The practice of beauty is simply an acknowledgment that physical appearances do matter and hold power that simultaneously communicate to others and oneself. For most people, this means entering a confusing sea of beauty practices set by a few powerful players. A disconnected sense of dependency on shifting standards may develop, leading to an eventual condemnation of the whole pursuit. This is also very tricky. Denial or resentment of the role that physical appearance plays can rack us with insecurity and anxiety, corrode our imaginings of life’s potential, and ultimately, erode our sense of creativity and self-expression.

At Moon Over Star, we wish to bestow the power back to the individual. A reminder that every woman and man possess inside themselves all the ingredients of style and confidence. There is nothing lacking or “bad” about the faces and/or physical bodies that we inhabit; all that we need to give to our physical bodies is understanding and appreciation, not hatred.


We set out to provide tools, a sense of literacy, that you’ll utilize every day in constructing your individual beauty…



We cultivate personal beauty by looking at our physical selves without denial or pretension. Authenticity blooms from witnessing what is there and from finding a true appreciation for what we have. By providing a centered understanding of what elements bring a person’s unique personal beauty to the surface, a new sense of growing relief and confidence can be found.

We set out to provide tools, a sense of literacy, that you’ll utilize every day in constructing your individual beauty: building your wardrobe, shopping for your foundation and lipstick, and choosing your hair dye. The confidence that you will look your best for any occasion whether it’s a wedding, an interview or a date. The self-knowledge of whether you should give that new Instagram trend or makeup launch a second thought, and the confidence to lead any given makeup or hair appointment.

So yes, you win sustainable knowledge about what works for you stylistically, and also the gift of self-discovery about who you are, and how to use clothing and makeup to tell the world about the real you. Let people see the depth and the richness of your charisma and allure. Let your inner power shine through and be seen.


By Michelle Boni
Written on July 30, 2020